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NET Vows To ‘Strengthen’ TV Station’s Newsroom Following Constitutional Challenge

NET’s Head of News has vowed to continue strengthening its TV station’s newsroom in the wake of a legal challenge that could declare political party TV stations unconstitutional.

“I am determined to keep strengthening not only the NET TV newsroom but also our newspapers, radio and social media platforms which are showing tremendous engagement amongst all age groups. 2021 will be a very challenging year for us – and we will keep on delivering the best service to our audiences and readers,” Robert Cremona told Lovin Malta.

When Lovin Malta reached out to ONE’s Head of News Edward Montebello, he declined to comment, saying that the media house would do so “at the opportune time”. 

On Sunday, Lovin Malta announced that it gave notice to the State Advocate that it will ask a civil court to decide whether a law that permits party-owned propaganda TV stations ONE and NET goes against Malta’s constitution.

A proviso in Article 13 of the Broadcasting Act enables party stations to exist on the premise that they balance each other out, even though Malta’s Constitution, the highest law in the land, clearly states that all broadcast media should remain impartial as much as possible.

ONE and NET are the exact opposite of what the Constitution demands, Lovin Malta argues.

On social media, Cremona described the challenge as “another attack on NET TV and our newsroom”.

“It’s a shame, but don’t worry, our team will keep on delivering and we’ll be stronger than ever!” he wrote.

ONE Television’s Executive Chairman Jason Micallef has criticised the case, saying he’s ready to fight for his station’s “fundamental right” to continue broadcasting.

Meanwhile, Nationalist Party general secretary Francis Zammit Dimech told Times of Malta that until there is a “proper level playing field”, the party won’t renounce their right to a TV station.

Prime Minister Robert Abela has said he will now leave the issue in the court’s hands, while PN Leader Bernard Grech was adamant that the public broadcaster would need to be reformed before such a change is considered.

The case is a publicly crowdfunded bid to reduce misinformation, partisan divisions and corruption on and island historically plagued by tribalism.

Both NET and ONE are bankrupt and have not filed their audited accounts in more than 10 years – yet, neither has been fined by the Malta Business Registry for failing to do so.

The latest accounts for One Productions are from 2010; the latest accounts for Net are from 2003.

Do you think that party stations are unconstitutional? Comment below

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